Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # O-2005-03

Common name:

Sabine's Gull

Scientific name: Xema sabini
Date: 23 Sept. 2005
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Length of time observed: 3 hours
Number: 2
Age: adult
Sex: ??
Location: 3/4 mile south of intersectin of Highways 36 and 199.
County: Tooele
Elevation: Approx. 4400 feet
Distance to bird: 200 feet
Optical equipment: 10 x 42 Leica binoculars; Leica spotting scope on tripod
Weather: Clear, cool, temp. about 68 degrees.
Light Conditions: Clear, good light from the sun in the east, pond is west of road.
Description:        Size of bird: Smaller than California Gull
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Gull-shaped
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Gray back, white under, striking wing markings.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Small gull bill, black at base, yellow tip.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Obvious black and white upper wing pattern; partial hood behind eyes; mantle and wing coverts gray, not brown.
Song or call & method of delivery: None
Behavior: Flying back and forth above the shallow pond, often both together, Often dipping down to pick a fly off the water. Quite often would light on the water for just a minute or so, then would be up flying again.
Habitat: Broad, shallow, fresh-water pond about 10 acres in size, in otherwise grassy habitat. Some pond weeds, which attracted shorebirds.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
There were no other gulls or terns present at this time.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
This species has been seen and identified on 2 prior occasions this fall, during migration time, both at Ant. Island Causeway.
References consulted: Sibley's Field Guide to Western Birds of North America.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Steve Carr
Observer's address: 2801 E. 5140 South, Holladay, Utah 84117
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Pomera Fronce, Jack Binch, Candy Zaffis.
Date prepared: 23 Sept. 2004
Additional material:  
Additional comments: The only reason I am submitting this record is that there were 2 adult birds seen at the same time, often flying or sitting together.